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'Jihadi' suspects risk losing apartment

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'Jihadi' suspects risk losing apartment
Armed police were called to the flat. Photo: APA
12:30 CET+01:00
Three young Muslims who were falsely reported to be jihadists in a newspaper report now face eviction from the council flat they rent in Vienna's Margareten district.

A story in the free Heute paper on February 18th reported that a bailiff - who had entered the apartment to demand payment for a mobile phone bill - had called the police after seeing what he thought was an Isis flag with Arabic writing.

However, Heute falsely reported that police found machine guns, Isis flags and evidence of radical extremism in the apartment.

Sixty armed police stormed the apartment but found no evidence of radicalism, and suspicions that the tenants may have been producing drugs in the apartment proved to be unfounded.  

For Karim Beib Abdalla, 22, and his flatmates, the allegations mean they now face losing their home.

Abdalla told the Kurier newspaper that he had nothing to do with radical extremists, but said that he had received a letter from the district court telling him that the council had decided to terminate his tenancy agreement “as the apartment is being used as a meeting place for extremists”. Abdalla has the right to appeal.

A spokeswoman for Vienna Housing Association stressed that the "decision is not final", and that the letter was sent not because of the Heute newspaper report but because the tenants are judged to have broken their tenancy agreement.

The Kurier reports that a local FPÖ councillor made the situation worse by posting a flyer to Abdalla’s neighbours with the statement "Did you know that terrorists live in your neighbourhood?"

Former Green party MP Karl Öllinger has made an official complaint against the FPÖ for "spreading false and disturbing rumours".

 

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